Friday, July 27, 2012

30 Ways We Are Saving Money in Our New House

Now that we are all settled into our new house, it is decorated to the hilt, and the pantry is full, we have reverted back to frugal mode.  Here's a bunch of ways we are saving money:

  1. Our bathrooms each have a six-light light bar across the vanity.  Hubby unscrewed four of the lights in each until they no longer turn on when we flip the switch.  We figure we are saving 240 watts each, every time we turn on the light.
  2. It's easy to hit the bathroom sink (single-handle) faucet and turn the water on warm.  We are careful to make sure the handle is all the way to the right so we are only using cold water when we turn on the faucet instead of draining the hot water tank.
  3. My shower is sparse--shampoo, soap, razor.  Simple.  And inexpensive.  My sister has about 50 beauty products lining her shower, all expensive and most unnecessary.
  4. Since each bathroom has a window, we have gotten used to opening the blinds in the bathrooms to light the area during the day instead of using the lights.
  5. Both of the showers have low-flow shower heads (provided free by the water utility).  Otherwise I can empty and entire hot water tank with one shower!
  6. Each bathroom has a Soft Soap soap dispenser from the $1 store.  Then we bought a giant refill of softsoap for a few dollars which should keep these dispensers full for a year!
  7. I don't like the chemical smell of air fresheners so to make our house smell nice, we simply open the windows in the morning to air out the house.
  8. I only do laundry once a week (of course these are full loads).
  9. I do all of our laundry in cold water.
  10. I only use half the recommended amount of laundry soap with each load and the clothes get just as clean as using a full measure of soap.
  11. I cut the dryer sheets in half and only use half a dryer sheet per load (again, I'm not a fan of chemicals).
  12. I use Spray and Wash for stains on clothes and it works really well (this also means we don't toss out clothes each time they get a stain).
  13. I use the minimum amount of time needed to dry our clothes in the dryer instead of setting it for an hour or more (clothes dry in about 35 minutes).  It would be cheaper to hang the clothes to dry but I tried that and they come out crunchy. Ick.
  14. We have a total of two TVs in our house and they each have an antenna so we can pick up free over the air TV.  We figure guests will just have to watch TV on their computers instead of buying two more (expensive) TVs and antennas for the guest rooms.
  15. We keep the air conditioner set at 80 degrees during the day; 82 degrees at night.
  16. We use ceiling fans to help keep the house cool (these really work well!).
  17. We have minimized the number of things we have which saves money.  Instead of buying ten sets of sheets for our three beds, we have a total of four sets which is more than enough.  Ditto for towels, wash clothes, etc.
  18. We have closed the vents in the unused guest rooms so we aren't air conditioning and heating rooms we don't use.
  19. Everything is super organized.  I have a shelf that contains a sewing box, and office supply box, a box of thank you and birthday cards, etc.  This way I know where everything is and don't need to run out and buy things that I already have but can't find.
  20. We don't wear shoes in the house.  It's socks or bare feet on the carpet and slippers on the tile kitchen floor.  This saves a ton of cleaning and keeps the flooring looking good for years.
  21. We use small lamps with energy-saving fluorescent bulbs to light the tasks we are doing (reading, computer work, etc), instead of lighting up the entire room.
  22. While the house is well insulated (even the garage!) we have noticed that the insulation around the doors is pretty lousy (like you can easily slide a piece of paper between the door and frame).  We are buying and installing new weatherstripping this weekend.
  23. Almost all of our decor came from the Goodwill (on half-off Wednesdays).  This includes wall hangings, clocks, lamps, etc.  This has saved A TON of money over buying retail (for items that are worth pennies on the dollar should you want to sell them at a garage sale).
  24. We have a "winter ensemble" stored in a spare closet.  This includes extra blankets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, etc.  While air conditioning is a requirement in Vegas, we rarely used any sort of heating last winter.  If it got cool we just threw on a sweatshirt or covered up with a blanket while reading or watching TV.
  25. Entertainment at our house is free.  This includes a stack of books and a stack of DVDs checked out free from the library each week. We have an old DVD player hooked up to one of the TVs which works great and hubby often watches movies on his computer.
  26. We did spring for cable internet, however.  For the first six months we are getting it for $19.95 a month and when this offer is over I will call and ask for another discount (or we will cancel internet).  There is no way we want to pay $55 a month for internet. 
  27. The pantry and supply cabinet is stocked with loss leaders.  If a local store is offering products at super low prices we stock up.
  28. Hubby tracks our electricity meter each day.  Right now we are averaging about 40kwh, in the condo we were averaging 20kwh; we are definitely trying to hit as close to 20 kwh as possible as this means our electricity bill would be $65 a month instead of $130.
  29. We are generally gone all day long.  When we are gone we turn off the AC completely and since nothing else in the house is using power, we can actually only use 3kwh of power for the ten to twelve hours we are gone.
  30. We water our landscape--what little there is of it--twice a week.  Although we have a watering system and most people use these systems to water every day during the summer, our landscaping still looks fine with only a little water twice a week (water and electricity are the highest-costing utilities in Las Vegas).
Well that's all I can think of so far.  We are actually living quite well.  Being frugal doesn't mean that you have to suffer to live as cheaply as possible.  By making small changes that really don't impact your overall standard of living, you can really save a lot of money!


  1. What an awesome list!!! :) Well done!

  2. These are great tips! Those bathroom light bars are a killer. We replaced ours with the CFL globes and they burn out too fast. Not sure why.
    Re: #26, the lady who does my taxes told me that the cost for internet service is tax deductible because I need it to sell online. So if you plan to start a business that requires the internet, you may want to consider that. I'm going downstairs now to cut my dryer sheets in half. Thanks April!

  3. Do you unplug those tvs/dvd players when not in use? They suck huge amounts of power even if not being used fyi. I hate that internet costs so much these days.

  4. Wow, it sounds like you're doing really well in keeping expenses low! My father realized that raising the mower blades and keeping grass a little longer in the summer cut down on the need to water, as well. Have you done that?

  5. Pamela, fortunately we dont have grass (this is Las Vegas!) but I am thinking about pulling out all of the shrubby landscape and putting in cactus :)
    Chapchick--We dont unplug the TVs but we do keep the VCR/DVD players unplugged. And I am certainly dreading when our internet raises from the low teaser offer to a higher price!